I can remember my first baseball All-Star ballot. I came across it in a drug store in the early 1970s while visiting with my grandparents. I believe it was part of a Gillette or Mennen’s display.
I was in awe. I handled the punch-hole computer card with care: I was actually going to vote for the starting All-Star teams. After getting back to my grandparents, I carefully punched out the chads next to the names of the players whom I thought deserved to go to the All-Star game and then we mailed it.
It was as if I had cast the most important vote of my life.
Of course, that awe evaporated once I started attending games and saw the same ballots handed out by the handful. My earlier care to vote for the most deserving players was nowhere to be found; I voted for every Cardinals player I could, just like fans in Chicago were voting for every Cubs or White Sox player they could, and fans in Boston were voting for every Red Sox player they could …
The charade of voting for the best players is over everywhere. Teams encourage fans to vote for their players. It’s easy enough to get online and vote as many times as you have e-mail addresses. And how is being able to vote every time you go to a game fair?
Yet, there must still be some fans out there truly voting for the best players, because for the most part it seems like the All-Star teams are fairly representative of the leagues’ respective talent.
Or maybe true fans just go to a lot of games.
With all that said, I think the All-Star voting needs to go back to the players and managers. I think they’re truly able to judge who the best are.